“Yeah, that sounds great, but let me tell you why it really sucks and what I did was waaaaaaayyyyyy better.”
Do you have that friend that just can’t bring themselves to accept the good that is happening in your life without telling you about the better that is happening in their life?
It’s mildly aggravating.
Ok, it’s extremely aggravating.
I was texting that friend the other day about our impending vacation and was excited about how blessed we are to take our son to the beach for the first time.
My friend tells me “You ever been to xyz island? If you do you’ll never go back to [janky ol’] abc beach.” (emphasis added by an irritated me)
“It’s AWESOME! We go every year and rent a house directly on the beach. This year we only counted 30 other people the WHOLE WEEK!!!”
Me – “Really, how much does that cost?”
Him – “It’s only $4500 for the week!!!!”
Me – “Oh man, that sounds great!” (Please end conversation here…)
You see, my wife’s boss owns several condos at abc beach, and he let us rent one for the daily cleaning fee. (Score!)
Do you own it, or does it own you?
If you want to gain financial freedom, you’ve got to stop comparing yourself to others based on possessions.
I remember when I was a kid entering the fourth grade I HAD to have the super awesome Reebok basketball shoes with the pump up ball on the tongue.
Entering fifth grade I HAD to have parachute pants (MC Hammer, Yo). I mean, none of the other kids would even talk to me if I didn’t have these things right???
I was deriving my self image from the clothes I wore. From the stuff I had.
Some people never outgrow stuffitis. They let their possessions define who they are, and the stuff they own winds up owning them.
I now shop mainly at Goodwill, Bargain Hunt, and on Craigslist. I try to buy things I need, and not things I want.
My stuffitis still flares up from time to time, but I’m getting much better at controlling it.
When you get an urge to buy that fancy new dinglehopper that you just have to have, slow down. Examine the why behind the urge.
Is the reason you want it because it is an awesome asset that will make life easier or more enjoyable, or is it a status symbol that will improve your self image?
I have a terrible ability to justify just about any purchase if I want it bad enough, or if I have wanted it long enough. Add in a bit of perceived scarcity for that product, and I’m sold.
I fight my weakness with priorities. I recite them in my head:
- We want to build a house.
- We want to buy property.
- We want to retire.
- We want to rent cabins in the mountains.
- We want to backpack, kayak, fish.
Physical priorities and the experiences that make life incredible to live are more important to me than the stuff that catches my fancy. I’ve just got to prioritize.
If you want to have friends, you’ve got to first be a friend.
To be a friend, genuinely care about people and show interest in them. Listen more than you speak. Take time to make them a priority.
Be genuinely happy when good things happen in the lives of those close to you, and don’t compare what they have to what you have.
Do this and you’ll be a friend, not a one-upper.